Artist Deborah Bergren shares with us how she has developed her artistic style over the past 19 years.
Be sure to visit Deborah’s website. The link is located on the bottom of the interview.
Featured Artist Deborah Bergren
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Dave – Hello Deborah, thank you for joining me today. Your artist story starts in 2000 and your first painting was accepted into a juried art show. That is an amazing accomplishment. Tells more about what you have learned over the past 19 years and the obstacles you overcame.
Deborah – The first obstacle was believing I could actually do anything of value. I can’t leave out the fact that I believe it was God who gave me the desire and gifts for art and then I also believe he continued and still continues to urge me to grow and keep practicing!
There is also the obstacle of laziness! I can easily find things that momentarily give me satisfaction without the work it takes to ply the art of painting but there was a moment a few years ago that a friend said something that changed my outlook and made it easier to push into that hard work. I was in a class for being trained as a Spiritual Director and we were talking about liturgy and how liturgy can be anything that we deliberately choose to do as a spiritual practice; from making coffee to cleaning the house, etc. When I mentioned how the work of getting out my painting supplies can be an obstacle, one of my classmates suggested I turn that process into a liturgy! This really shifted my thinking! I’m not saying I have no laziness but I now have the tool to overcome it!
I’ve learned so much in these past nineteen years but the first would be humility. Without humility, there is no reason to believe I have anything to learn from anybody else and I have so much to learn! But on the flip side, there is also learning to be confident, and that’s not really the flip side. Confidence can actually come because of humility. When one is willing to take stock and learn about their weaknesses and strengths, there can come confidence that “this is who I am, these are my weaknesses and these are my strengths”, and out of that comes growth.
Dave – That is very powerful and something we can all take home. What advice would you give to people who are interested in learning how to paint or draw?
Deborah – First, just start! I see people on a FB art group I’m in and their work is very much beginner style – yet they’re doing it and not afraid to show others! Second, there is so much information on the internet, so many videos and tutorials, you can learn a ton that way! Just don’t get stuck there! And I think it’s also good to have someone who is really good to guide and give suggestions. Having another pair of eyes helps you to see things from a different perspective and see things you may have missed.
Dave – I was talking to one of my friends the other day about getting lost on YouTube. If we are not careful we can easily waste our time watching hours of videos instead of working on our own skills. How did you learn your technique?
Deborah – I guess I’d have to say I don’t really know! I recently thought I’d like to become more impressionistic, and I still would like to try but I just try to paint what I see through my own eyes the best I can! I think I see colors pretty vividly and sometimes I realize when I think I’m finished that I need to tone down or cool down some colors. It’s a learning process!
Dave – Where do you get your inspiration from?
Deborah – All of my work is from personal photos or those by my son or personal friends. I don’t know if I can pinpoint the exact thing in each one that causes me to catch my breath and say, “I have to paint that”, but they will all be of such beauty that I want to share it through the medium of paint.
Dave – What makes your artwork unique and separates you from other artists?
Deborah – Wow! That’s a hard question to answer! I’ve been following a lot of plein air artists on Instagram and Pinterest and sometimes, not to dismiss their art because it’s all beautiful, but they can start to look the same. And then I come across someone who has a whole new style even though it’s still plein air and still impressionistic, that make me stop and say, wow! So I guess that my artwork is different in that it’s not just like everyone else’s. It’s not impressionistic and it’s not realism yet it’s a combination of both and my hope is that it will cause someone to stop and say, wow!
I don’t know if that answers your question or not.
Dave – That answers the question perfectly. Over the past 19 years, you have learned how to create art with your own unique style and voice which separates you from all of the other artists. That is a difficult challenge that many artists face but it is something we should continue to work on. What message would you like your viewers to receive when they look at your artwork?
Deborah – I’m not a “spiritual artist” in that I don’t paint overtly spiritual themes, but I want my artwork to stir viewers’ souls so that when they look at it they have gratefulness in their hearts for the creation I have depicted.
Dave – What supplies do you use for your artwork?
Deborah – Currently I use both stretched canvas or canvas panels as well as gesso panels with oil paint. I have used acrylic in the past but I love the way oil can be pushed and pulled, especially when painting water.
Dave – What other mediums do you like to work with, if any?
Deborah – I have done a few very small watercolors and on that scale that’s fine. I’m intimidated by doing anything large in watercolor at this point though!
Dave – Would you mind sharing a few of your favorite creations and share the story behind them?
This is my favorite swimming spot on Lake Michigan. My husband and I were out in the water this one evening and I looked back at our spot. The colors of the sand, the sky, the grasses, and trees as well as our chairs all reflected in the water made me smile! My husband gladly took a photo for me to paint this called: Come Away and Rest Awhile.
I like to hike a lot at two nearby parks. I always have my phone with me to capture anything that is paint worthy and this sight of the dark and cool trail leading out to light and warmth drew me onward, both to keep going and to keep painting! It’s called “Walking Toward the Light.” 5×7 oil on panel.
My husband texted me one morning on his way to work to tell me how beautiful the sunrise was. So I threw on some warm clothes and headed to a nearby hilltop cemetery to see it without the litter of houses and trees. What I saw here was not just a sunrise but hope: Hope of a new day, the hope of spring soon to come, hope for our nation, and most of all, hope of Resurrection.
8×10 oil on panel.
Dave – When did you start selling your artwork and how did you get started?
Deborah – That’s easy! This past Christmas season! I didn’t have a large enough body of work until then to even think of starting to sell but I had been painting more and more and realized that either everyone I knew plus acquaintances were going to get a painting for Christmas or I needed to start selling them. So I set up a site on FASO then one on Fine Art America.
Dave – How do you promote your art online?
Deborah – I try to blog at least a couple of times a month on my FASO website as well as posting on Instagram and Facebook.
Dave – What was the biggest lesson you learned about starting your art business?
Deborah – Patience! It’s been slow going but I know from reading other’s blogs and articles that patience and practice are key. Also to keep promoting yourself no matter how uncomfortable that might be. People quickly forget that painting you posted last month so try to keep putting new stuff up or blogging to keep their interest and someday they’re going to decide they have to have that one you just posted!
Dave – Where can people purchase your art?
Deborah – Deborah Bergren Fine Art
Dave – I would like to thank you one more time for sharing your artistic journey with us and I look forward to seeing all of your new creations.
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